Developing a Survival Attitude

The most important element of survival isn’t a piece of equipment or having the right supplies. It’s not purchasing the perfect gun or learning the right martial arts moves. It’s not even knowing 57 ways of starting a fire or how to make a shelter out of nothing. No, the most important element of survival is your attitude. You have to have the right attitude or you’re not going to make it.

Medical science has even recognized the importance of attitude in patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Those who believe they are going to defeat their illness and get back on their feet again, are much more likely to do so. But those who have given up end up dying, no matter what the doctor does.

You can even see this with gunshot wounds. Someone did a study of police officers who were shot in the line of duty. Those who were convinced that they were going to die ended up dying, even if they only had a superficial wound. However, those who were convinced they would live through it, managed to make it, even if they had a seriously life-threatening wound. Their will to live is the thing that managed to pull them through.

The Military and Attitude

Interestingly enough, every military manual which deals with survival has a chapter near the beginning that deals with attitude. That’s because the experts who wrote those manuals recognize the importance of having the right attitude in a survival situation.

Survival isn’t the only place that the military makes good use of people’s attitudes. It has been said that all it takes to make soldiers into elite troops is to tell them that they are and then wait for them to live up to their expectations of themselves.

Elite troops always have a very positive attitude. Most people would say that they are cocky, proud or even arrogant. No, it’s just that they are the best and they know it. They prove that to themselves every day. Like the Navy Seals say, “The only easy day was yesterday.” More than anything, what makes them effective is that they are convinced that they can overcome anything the enemy throws their way.


Developing a Survival Attitude

So, how do you develop that attitude that you are going to overcome? First of all, let me say that it takes time. This isn’t something you’re going to succeed in accomplishing overnight. But you have to decide that you’re going to develop it, or it’s never going to happen. You can’t order the attitude of an overcomer online and it won’t come to you automatically.

Training Builds Confidence

Military training of those elite units provides them with skills to back up the idea that they are the best. Then, when they have to face an enemy or even a problem, they know that they can do it. Why? Because they aren’t looking at the problem and asking themselves “What am I going to do now?” they know what to do.

Likewise, your survival training gives you the knowledge to know how to deal with situations that you are likely to encounter. You don’t need to wonder about what to do, because you already know. Just like with those elite units, you can look the problem in the eye and declare “I win,” knowing that you can overcome. Now that’s confidence!

Overcoming Fear

Fear is debilitating. When you let fear come in and start talking to you, you lose your ability to do anything. You can literally become paralyzed by it, preventing you from doing what you need to do in order to survive. So, where does fear come from and how can you get rid of it?


Fear is confidence in something’s ability to harm you. Many people have a fear of snakes, because they understand that a snake bit can be deadly. Others have a fear of heights, because they realize that falling could hurt them. All fear is based upon some sort of negative consequences, and the understanding that they can happen to you.

To overcome fear, you have to change your perception of the thing you are afraid of. My wife used to be afraid of guns. She was so afraid, that she’d close her eyes anytime a gun appeared on television. But now she’s a shooter. How did that happen? She decided that she was going to learn how to shoot. Once she had an understanding of guns, here dear went away.

You can do the same thing with a lot of things. A fear of heights can be overcome by learning techniques to keep you from falling. A fear of wild animals can be eliminated by learning about those animals. You have to figure out what your fears are and then develop the knowledge in how you will overcome that thing, should you ever have to. Then your fear will go away.

Knowing what You Can Do

Between training and overcoming fear, you should reach a point where you know what you can do. That knowledge will automatically kick in, whenever you are faced with a survival situation. Everyone around you may be bemoaning the situation, but you’ll rise to it. You’ll feel as if you are in your element, even if it’s the first time you’ve faced that situation.

That knowledge prepares you to hit the problem head on, rather than trying to skirt around it. Your attitude becomes positive, rather than negative. Even if you have setbacks, you keep striving on, because you know that you will eventually overcome the situation.

Give Yourself a Reason to Live

Finally, make sure that you have a reason to live. I’m not afraid to die, but I want to live because my family needs me. Dying would deny them the income that I make and the things that I do for them. So, if I’m faced with a life or death situation, I think of them and what my death would mean to them. That gives me a reason to push onward, rather than giving up.

Dave Steen

About The Author: Dave is a 58 year old survivalist; father of three; with over 40 years of survival experience. He started young, learning survival the hard way, in the school of hard knocks. Now, after years of study, he's gray-haired and slightly overweight. That hasn't dimmed his interest in survival though. If anything, Dave has a greater commitment to survival than ever, so that he can protect his family. Click Here To Read More About Dave

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